UNESCO World Heritage Site: Alberobello

Trulli rooftops (April 2008, Puglia, Italy)Today, we traveled by van through Puglia to see the countryside, stopping in Alberobello.

Albertobello has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, where homes known as trulli line cobblestone streets. Trulli are found only in the Puglia region of Italy.

Trulli homes have conical rooftops, made of stacked stones without the use of mortar.

Day 7: Hanging Out at the Hagia Sophia

Tulips: Although Holland has much better marketing, tulips are actually from Turkey. They were brought from central Asia, and exported to Holland starting in the late 16th century. Today, they fill the medians of Istanbul and are on the national symbols. Continue reading

Days 5-6 in Cappadocia

I am falling behind with the writing, so I have to try to summarize: Lots of caves.

Typical Cappadocia cave houses

The Cappadocia region is filled with a deep layer of soft limestone topped with a hard layer of volcanic basalt. As the basalt cracks, erosion causes the soft limestone to wear away, leading to the strange landscape from this photo.

Since there are no trees, and little water to make clay, up until about 4000 years ago, people in Cappadocia lived in the natural caves. Once metal was available, they started carving the stone to make their own caves. In many inhabited areas, every single column of stone is being used as someone’s house. Many of them are still very desirable homes today.

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Day 4: Ballooning in Cappadocia

balloons in cappadociaWe started the day early, being picked up before 6:00 to make it to our hot air balloon excursion at dawn. There were about 10 of us in each balloon, with the others in our balloon from German and Japanese groups. Even though Joy gets motion sickness sitting in a rocking chair (no, seriously), she had no trouble with the balloon. And even though we both have some trouble with heights, we both only had minor reactions to it. Overall, an experience we would highly recommend.

The rest of the day, we spent touring various archeological sites and cave dwellings. It is really not possible to describe all the things we are seeing without pictures. In short, we visited lots of cave dwellings, including a lot of early Christian cave churches and monasteries. In this region, most of the rock is soft limestone, which people carved homes from starting as soon as they got metal, about 4,000 years ago.